The Story of Rival

I lived by myself in Dallas for about a year.  I started toying with the idea of getting a puppy to keep me company.  The problem that I had is my job was too far away and I had too many lunch appointments to be able to stop by the apartment to let the dog out halfway through the day.  About the time I had decided to wait to get a dog until I had a backyard I took a trip down to the pool in the complex.  I was minding my own business when this small cat came up to me and was meowing at me and rubbing against my legs.  He was so cute and seemed to be very social, so in the matter of about 10 minutes I decided to get a cat and had taken him upstairs to my apartment.  His name is Rival.  At first this was because of the difference between my alma mater and my ex-boyfriends, but he has truly lived up to his name without fail. 

Here is my son at the beginning of his life with me:

  I found out through the vet that he was about 4 months old and that he is a Maine Coon.  This breed is known for being affectionate, talkative, and big.  Rival is more like a dog than I could have ever planned for.  He enjoys sitting in my lap (especially when it is cold) and follows me around the house.  He is so fun to play with and has turned into a size that Maine Coon’s are proud of, 16 pounds.  He lives up to his name when he acts very mischievous.  He enjoys waking me up in the middle of the night by playing with the blinds or meowing because he wants me to turn on the faucet so he can drink out of it.  Here is a picture of Rival at his full size.  He hates when I travel and tries to go with me: 

I am very lucky because my husband likes cats.  Rival wasn’t so sure about Ryan when he first joined the family, but has quickly learned to love him.  Ryan and Rival love to play together.  For some reason Rival likes to attack Ryan’s undershirts and Ryan is always provoking the cat to be wild and crazy. 

As a person that never had pets growing up (unless you count hamsters, and an outside dog that was my sister’s) I feel so blessed that Rival came into my life.  He leaves fur balls everywhere and the occasional “presents” to clean up, but I love him regardless.

Job Interview

I had a job interview this morning.  I don’t know if I will get it or not, but I do feel like no matter what, it was fate/good luck that led me here.

I am part of a career networking group that meets weekly.  There is time for networking and there is time for a speaker.  Some weeks are good, some weeks are bad (and I leave early).  This week (yesterday) I was excited about the topic because the nonprofit small group was putting it on.  During my time off I have definitely rediscovered my passion for volunteer work and community service.  For the speaking program there were 5 people who came to talk about their nonprofit organizations.  Mostly they were discussing the benefits of volunteering as a form of networking and a way to feel accomplished while unemployed, but one woman briefly mentioned she was filling a staff member spot at her organization.  Several of the things she spoke about during her time really related with me (she went through a period of unemployment herself and said that at some points she was just so confused why people weren’t hiring her because she is smart and so capable).

So after the meeting was over I got up the courage to go talk to her.  I started by asking her questions about how she proved herself enough to someone for them to give her a chance in a different industry.  After she heard I had a sales background she started talking about her Volunteer Coordinator position she was filling and how important it was to have someone in that role with a positive attitude.  I felt like I really clicked with her during that time and thought “I have what it takes to do this!”  I emailed her immediately when I got home and we set up an interview for today. 

I met with her at 9:00.  The office is so nice and roomy.  We talked for only 45 minutes, but in that time I shared why I think I will be the best candidate, and she shared what the ideal candidate would be like.  She is has three candidates she is considering, one with Volunteer Coordinator experience.  I don’t know what the outcome will be, but she is supposed to let me know by Friday.

If I get the job than I will be so excited to feel like I am doing good in the community, but also to help others rediscover their own passion for volunteer work.  If I don’t get the job, I am thankful for the opportunity to practice my interview skills and open my eyes to another area to look for a career.  I am also thankful to have briefly met the woman I interviewed with because she seems like an amazing woman and a great role model for me professionally and spiritually.

Just Finished Reading…

I really enjoy reading.  There are people out there who will intently read a book and analyze them and try to gain lessons out of all of them.  I think I am more of a person who likes the stories.  I want to lose myself in someone else’s fiction, a different world in which I will never belong.  My favorite books are historical fiction and mystery/thrillers.  One thing I also try to do is between every fiction I read put in some kind of non-fiction that will help better me. 

I was really excited when my husband gave me a Nook for my birthday this year.  So far I love this device.  It allows me to keep a whole lot of books in one light spot.  This will definitely come in handy on my upcoming trip to Aruba!

So because I am a reading fool these days, here are my mini-reviews for my most recent reads.

 

The Help by Kathryn Stockett  

I didn’t know much about this book before I read it.  All I really knew is that there is a lot of buzz about it, and several threads on a book forum I read dedicated to it.

This is a story taking place in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi.  At this time there were two distinctly different groups of women living within the city.  There were the “Society” ladies who played bridge once a week and were members of Junior League, and there were the black women who worked in the white women’s homes and kept them clean, cooked all the meals, and raised their children.  This story revolves around one white woman who started to feel that something was wrong.  Skeeter Phelan decided that she would try and write a book in which several of the maids told their stories, good and bad, about what it was like to work for the white women.  It was very difficult for her to get the maids to help her because they were scared for their lives and families in this still very racially heated atmosphere.  With the help of Aibileen and Minny, 11 other maids come forward and work together to make this book a reality.  The rest of The Help follows these three women’s personal lives and their own ups and downs.

I related to this book in some of the feelings it relayed.  Skeeter had a deep and meaningful relationship with Constantine, the black woman who raised her.  In my life part of the group of people who raised me was our babysitter who worked for us for over 20 years.  Although my family wasn’t extremely wealthy like some of the families in this book, I did feel some guilt about the way we lived our life versus my babysitters.  I loved spending as much time with her as I could, and went and stayed with her in her mobile home every once in a while.  There is sometimes a strange line between someone who is raising you and teaching you wonderful lessons and them being an employee of your parents.  I have an indescribable bond with her that will never be broken.  She taught me many valuable things, problem solving skills one of the largest of them.  I believe the greatest thing she taught me was how to stay grounded and easy-going. 

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

This is the second book of a trilogy involving a journalist who gets caught up in mysteries and can’t help but solve them.  In the first book of the trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) he was hired to solve the case of a missing person.   With the help of an extremely anti-social, computer hacker, Mikael Blomkvist in this book is working to solve the murders of two people who were working to expose a sex trade ring in Sweden. 

Lisbeth Salander (the hacker) is the character in the book that most confuses me.  I think mostly because I have never met or heard or someone quite like her.  She is an incredibly smart person who enjoys solving complex math equations in her spare time.  Lisbeth mostly keeps to herself, has an awful family history, and pursues intimate relationships with men or women when she is bored.

The book didn’t answer my question about what happened to her newly revealed twin sister, Camille.  The book also did not solve anything regarding the sex trade.  I do believe that the author will continue to work on the issue in the last book of the trilogy.

I enjoyed the suspense of this novel and will definitely be reading the third installment.  I know this was not a very in depth review, but it is hard to explain all the details of the case that is being broken, just read the book, it’s good, I promise!

My Experience with Layoffs

I have technically been through 3 layoffs in my short life as of today.

  1.  I was a nanny for a family in my old neighborhood.  The husband was a doctor, the wife a stay at home mom and one child.  This was an awesome summer job and I enjoyed what I was doing.  When the mother was about 6 months pregnant with her second child I was given “the talk”.  Turns out they were going to hire a full-time, live-in nanny and they didn’t have use for me anymore.  I was devastated.
  2. My first real layoff was with a large, Fortune 500, Pharmaceutical company.  I moved to this company from my first pharmaceutical position because I felt like there were so many different areas in which I could grow and expand my career.  I am blessed to have received the amazing sales training that they provided and pull from those lessons almost daily.  A little over a year into my career with the company there began to be rumors of a large layoff.  Unfortunately for me I never had a thought that this would affect me.  For some reason I thought I was immune until the night before the big conference call when I realized the phone number I had to call was the same as several other people who were afraid for their jobs.  In June 2009, I was one of the 1000 people nationwide that would be losing their job.  I wish I still had this job, because I do believe in the company and what they stood for.  Of course it sucks losing your job, but they took care of us the best way they could.  We were allowed to keep the company cars for 2 months, were paid for the same 2 months and then received severance on top of that.  I still keep in touch with several former co-workers and hope maybe someday I will be back here again. 
  3. I started a different pharmaceutical position and worked in the field for them a mere 8 weeks.   (Most companies say that it could take up to 6 months to truly determine your level of success.)  One morning out of the blue I got a call from my manager who said he needed to meet with me right away.  I thought this was really strange but agreed to meet him.  He promptly started asking me questions about work activity and specific dates and what I was doing on those days.  Was I working on those specific dates?  Yes, of course I was.  Did I have documentation about who I saw?  Not always, but this was my mistake I made and misunderstanding of what they wanted from me.  Was this worth getting fired for?  I don’t think so, how about a warning first or ask me what my activities consisted of.  Why couldn’t he bring this up and ask me to start documenting every office?  One conference call with my manager and HR lady, and several tears later, I was once again unemployed.  Several months later I found out that the company was downsizing and didn’t want to have to pay anyone severance so they were looking for any and every excuse to get rid of people.  Obviously I wish I still had a job, but it feels much better knowing that I could not have prevented what happened to me.  In the end it is a blessing in disguise because I don’t want to work for a company that doubts everything their employees do and don’t provide any loyalty.

Today my efforts consist of searching for a position to continue my career in Pharmaceutical Sales.  I believe that with my strong science background, and outgoing personality that I was made for this field.  The industry has been rapidly shrinking over the past few years, but I believe that there is a position out there waiting for me.  In the meantime I am networking like crazy.

Before the Wedding, Part 1

Meeting My Love

As part of my New Year’s 2008 goals I decided that I needed to distance myself from past relationships and start anew.  The way I started this was to join eHarmony.  I wasn’t sure if this would work for me or not, I had previously joined Match and didn’t have any luck, and met several jerks.  I went on a few dates with one guy who was very nice, just not for me.  I changed a few settings I had on my profile and Ryan was the first match to pop up.  We went through the prerequisite multiple choice and short answer questions before meeting for coffee.

Here are some examples of the questions we answered for each other (and yes, these are the actual questions):

Charlotte’s question to Ryan:
1.  Describe an interest you have that you would truly hope your partner could share with you.
I enjoy travelling and I hope that my partner would too. I have an interest in cars and several times a year I drive down to Austin for a weekend to drive through Hill Country along Lake Travis with an exotic car club. Other times I travel to Arkansas and the Ozarks to explore and camp. I’ve been to 40 out of the 50 states exploring everything this great country has to offer. I loved touring Europe two years ago (my favorite places are Switzerland, Northern Italy and Bavaria) and I look forward to upcoming trips to France and Denmark for work. I work in a very international setting and always meeting people from difference places and cultures – I am amazed at all the unique places there are in the world – I want to visit and experience them all! I believe it’s important for my partner to be excited to do these types of activities and really enjoy them.
 

Ryan’s question to Charlotte:
2.  Describe an interest you have that you would truly hope your partner could share with you.

I love love love to DANCE!!!!!!!! (Ok, I like to travel too, but you already took that one). I don’t expect my partner to be awesome at dancing, by no means am I, but he has to be at least willing to try it. Dancing is something that I have found joy in since I was 5 and I hope to share that with someone.

 

After our first meeting I was really interested in knowing more about this man.  He made me laugh, was so smart, and of course very handsome.  The thing I love about our relationship is that I never had any doubts about him.  I never had to question if I wanted to see him again or not, it was a given.  Here is the first picture we took together at a Spazmatic’s concert.

 

You want to make God laugh? Tell him your future plans. -Woody Allen

I recently found a box of projects at my mom’s house that I made throughout my school years.  Inside one of my very beautiful, very professional looking “Books about Me” I found a list of plans for my life.  After reading through where I thought my life would be at the age of 28, I felt extremely disappointed in how things have gone to accomplish those goals.  After reflecting and thinking more about it, I know that I am so happy and wouldn’t have been able to accomplish some of the things that I am proud of if my life turned out the way I imagined it would.  Just because you might be curious, here are some things that stuck out to me in my list of plans.

-Be married and have 2 children
-Drive a Ford Taurus
-Be a teacher

I turned 28 this past June.  I barely made the marriage cut off.  I was married to the love of my live on April 10, 2010, at the ripe age of 27.  I do not have any children, and we plan to wait a little while before starting our family.  Funny thing is I actually have driven a Ford Taurus as one of my company cars (it was actually the Ford 500 at the time, which they have changed the name BACK to the Taurus now).  Once I reached college age the hopes of becoming a teacher was never explored.  I loved all of my science classes in high school so continued this path with the hopes of becoming a doctor.  I realized after getting to college that the people that want to be doctors are crazy!  I wanted to be social, join a sorority, and have a “college” experience, which were all difficult things to do while maintaining the 4.0 required for medical school admission.  Also, spending 8+ years past college in higher education did not seem like something I would enjoy very much.  I ending up finding a career that I love and am good at in healthcare sales.  Unfortunately I am currently unemployed, but know that there is an amazing opportunity out there somewhere.  One of the reasons I am starting this blog is because I listened to a talk in a networking group I belong to about “having an online presence”.  Maybe people will read this, maybe not, but it will allow me to put my thoughts about various topics down.

This blog is going to be about my quest to find life and fulfillment.  Do I know what I need to get these things?  No, but hopefully through this process they will reveal themselves.  Some of the topics I would like to talk about in my random thoughts are: being married, looking for a job, spiritual lessons, my awesome cat Rival, books, and the joys of homeownership (that being sometimes sarcastic, and sometimes not).  I am new to the blog universe, so please bear with me as I start this journey.